You Lost the Game for Us!

Teenage years. Or almost teen years. That time in life you are  so painfully embarrassed that you exist and someone might notice.  The coach says ‘good job’ and everybody looks at you.  You miss the shot and peek under your lashes hoping no one is looking. Self-consciousness.  Everything is centered around you.

It takes a lot of years before you realize it really isn’t all about you. That  time you struck out? It really wasn’t you who lost the game for everyone. It was a team effort. Everyone helped get to that spot where you stood determined not to fail.  The fact that you struck out did not lose the game.  It was merely the last thing a team member did that caused the team to lose.  To win or lose takes a whole team.

You’re a parent now and you think you’re over that self-centeredness.  You know that it takes a team to get anything done (or not done).  But do you really?

So your kid is failing at school, hanging around with losers, being a total loser himself.  Maybe even doing drugs, or hanging out at Juvenile Hall at the request of the courts.  And you look at yourself and wonder ‘where did I go wrong? What parenting job did I fail to do? How did I lose the game for my family?’
May I suggest that there were times you struck out. Yes, there where a few balls you didn’t catch. But you did not, singlehandedly, lose the game. I’m not saying you shouldn’t look at yourself and find ways to improve. I’m not saying that getting counseling and working to make yourself a better parent isn’t a good idea.  I am saying that, unless that child has lived in a bubble with only you, there were other team members making themselves known. Other things, other people, other situations beside home impacted where your child stands today.  And most importantly, your  child has made choices that affected the game.

Additionally, let me just say to those of you who are judging your friends because their children are so awful – YOU KNOW THAT CHILD.  You’re a part of the game. Try not to be a part of the reason that game is lost.

So – mom’s and dad’s – get over that self-conscious, ‘it’s all about me’ attitude.  Look at your child and recognize he’s making poor choices.  Look at yourself and see if you have given him reason for those choices.  Look see if he picked up those choices somewhere else.  Focus on teaching him to change those choices in a positive way.  Get help from others.  Build your team. Don’t try going it alone.  You didn’t do it alone and you can’t win this game alone.  Your child is the star of the team.  You are the coach. Be sure you’re giving him all the tools and training he needs so that the crowd can cheer.

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